Archive | March 2012

Jewels Of Creation

We Are

Sisters of the Morning

Mothers of the Evening

and

Daughters of the Sun.

We Are

delicate shades of Womanhood

perfumed  feminine essence

Princess, Queen and Empress

We

laugh, sing, dance and sleep

amongst our limitless families

bounded the halo of friendship

we each support.

We

speak and reason time without end

so in tune are we

that  unspoken thoughts are shared

through speaking eyes

and welcoming hugs of comfort.

We Are

graceful movers through

this turbulence called life

and provide  a radiant  anchor

to hold a weary sister

above the current of defeat.

Our Richness

for yes we are rich in spiritual love

shines throughout a million eyes

and glows beneath a skin ranging

from the sweetness of night

to the golden kiss of dawn.

I see true beauty

in the face of

all the wonderful women

that I know.

We are

Hope Eternal

We are

Twinkling Inspiration

We are

Regal Determination

We Are

Jewels

Of

Creation

Imani c 2012

 

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I Still Carry The Scars (1)

Yeah

I confess

I still carry  the scars

How’s that for honesty?

It’s not easy to admit

anything

Age has certainly got a lot

to answer for

Horror stories of my past

are thankfully shrouded

in the mists of youth

in the land of

“Did I really DO that

Didi I really SAY that?

We all have skeletons in our closets

some of us have  graveyards

It’s only sane to conclude

that

we all bear some scars.

No matter how fine

feather-tipped

lip brush kissed

a scar is a scar.

We are all in this healing process

together

some of us need

deep strength healing

to erase the pains of life

to ease the trials of our ancestral lives

Physical scars heal over a matter of time

Mental scars

Spiritual scars

take

a

wee

bit

longer.

Imani c 2012

SpiriCulArts – Pencil Queens

‘Heartical Afrika’  by Imani c 1995

As well as working with metallic pens, I also love working with HB pencils, specially those ranging from 3B to 8B. Both of these pictures are on large bright orange card. There are times when I just cannot write and so I draw instead. I know so many beautiful Rastafarian Queens and try to reflect this in my art.

‘Locks Divine’ by Imani c 1995

Hairstory Part One

Anyone remember (or admit to)  running around in your house with a cardigan over your head? This is directed at women, we were all little girls once. No offense to you men, but if any of you did…..well.. that’s between you and your past…..Anyway, girls or women should I say, who is brave enough to say ” Yes?” I am. I use to love wearing a cardigan on my head, flicking it back like I had long flowing locks (ironic now eh) and shaking my head to feel the sleeves gently tapping my face. And it had to be a cardigan, stockings or tights did not have the same effect and made you look like an off key bank robber…..

Back then, I always had hair that was much shorter than my little sister’s. She could do so much with it, or I really should say Mum, who would plait her hair in various combinations, all topped off with lovely ribbons. which made her look so cute. Me, on the other hand…well…. ,my hair had an odd texture. curly and soft when wet, tough as goodness knows what when dry. And then it shrank! Mum would also top my hair off with a ribbon which sort of looked like a consolation prize for having hair so limited in length but bloody hard to comb out. And no matter what happened during the day, we had to come with the same amount of ribbons we left home with. I have a picture of myself at primary school age with a blue ribbon band around my hair. I can look in my eyes and see l how I felt then. With my bright smile, my eyes said, Oh I hope this makes my hair look longer, but I can safely say now, no. I therefore had a very slim curtain of comfort after my hair had been washed, as when it was damp it felt lovely. One night though, Mum broke three combs in my hair, I heard each one snap, as it struggled to run through, good thing we always had a few more.

Our brother did not escape hair management because he was a boy as once a month on Sundays, Dad would trim his hair with sheers or any new fangled clipping implements for men. He even bought a barber-type chair that could swing right round and when he was at work or out of the house, we would muck about swinging each other until the chair tipped over. Dad would always wonder why the chair did not sit well as it become wonky after a while, but we didn’t admit anything. In our house, if it was a joint transgression, we all kept our mouths shut. There would be little tufts of hair all over the floor, as our brother looked out with nearly tear filled eyes as Dad told him to hold still in case he clipped his skin. And then to top it off, Dad would gently cut a path into our brother’s scalp and it was always dead straight.

I had a dolly that had long red pinky hair. I think I gave her the name ‘Diana’ as she came in a large box with her name written on which I didn’t like. At Woolworth’s which is where I am sure my parents bought her from, there was a large selection of these dolls in the toy section which was located in the basement, all lining the top shelf of the toy department, wearing beautiful gown type dresses with pearl looking necklaces and bracelets. They were really big, must have been about 3 feet in height. Diana had a slight smile with eyes that could roll and long black lashes. Sorry to all the metric folk but I am a real casualty of England refusing to go metric all the way when our money became pounds and pence. When my mum starts buying yam and banana in kilos, well, so will I. Anyway, my dolly was the only thing I had over my sister as her dolly was round and baby-like with short blond hair. I use to love combing and brushing Diana’s hair into different styles and wished that my hair could be so fine and easy.

Mum would sometimes let us play with her hair, I don’t know how she managed this I wouldn’t have liked to have children playing about with my hair, but she did. Good thing we had television then as she would just sit and watch  whilst we did our thing, but never, ever, whilst she was watching Coronation Street. We would decide who was going to do the back or front part of her hair and try to plait it which was nigh on impossible as Mum’s hair was always pressed.  She had a couple of hairpieces that were all the rage then, which sat on top of her hair with large fat curls and after a while she would get us to loose out the curls, oil them up with liquid paraffin and curl it back up again.

The oils and pomades hat we used in our hair ranged from an almost neon yellow sulphur type to ones smelling sweetly of rose. The pressing oils promised a smooth and shiny finish and were either blue or green. Mum would put raw egg in our hair to condition it which I thought was a waste of good frothy eggs that would have graced the beginning of a delicious Mackeson Punch drink. Once the egg conditioner turned our hair into smelly stiff peaks, Mum would rinse this out, but the eggy smell would haunt our house for a while.

Mum would visit a lady down the road to have her hair done. There were no hairdressers that catered for women of colour back then, no salons like nowadays, it’s like you blink and there’s another new salon on the high street. There was always a scent of Blue Magic  just hanging in the air mixed with the exotic smell of paraffin with a couple of pressing combs or curling tongs on top or inside near the grills of the heater. I could see how they did it, making a nice path to separate a clump of hair, grease it up with Blue Magic, take the comb out of the heater, look at it and blow on it ( I mean, we’re talking red hot here as if blowing would lower its vibrant heat) wipe it gently on a cloth and then  ease it though. Smoke would gently rise up and any unfortunate strands that missed the oil, would suffer a singed death. You had to be really good at using the curling tongs which looked really dangerous to me, timing was essential to avoid making a curl into a burnt stump.

I use to dread it when Mum said that my hair was to be pressed, which was not often, but when it did, this meant that my hair would be actually manageable for a while. No more me streching forward with hunched shoulders as Mum gently tugged me back to fight with the comb, no more aching scalp The part I really hated was having the hair near my ears done. Mum would say ” Hold it down, hold it down” but the oil from my hair made my ears greasy and I could feel the heat of the comb coming closer and closer and closer….. and my ear sliding out of my grasp, like it wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And then, PING! it saw what the fuss was about and this was really painful! You would often see your friends coming to school with a small burnt patch either around the ear or on it. And not just round the ear, anywhere there was short hair, little brand marks would be there. As soon as we all grew older and pressed our own hair. the scars got lesser, practice does make perfect!

At primary school, hair was not too much of an issue but at secondary school, where you had to travel on a bus presented a new problem. A hair style that would last the day and withstand the sometimes hazardous journey. I once found myself hanging off the back of a Routemaster Bus which I had jumped on whilst it was moving off and nearly swung myself of it, only thinking about how my hair must look, as the breeze ripped out my fragile hairstyle, And then there was the meeting of new people from the distant lands or Woolwich, Brockley, Ladywell and New Cross so style and fashion was a big deal. I tried my best, but when that umbrella flick up type hairstyle came in ( I can’t remember the correct name of this look but people of my age will know what this means.) I had to admit defeat. My sister’s hair just kept on growing, she could comb it out into a large Afro, pin it up with sponge curlers and reveal the latest style.

I Wish I Could Have Said This Earlier, Dad…..

My Dad always wore a three piece suit, something which I could never understand. Even when summers were actually hot, he always had on his waistcoat and long sleeved shirts and never went out without his hat. He had a fantastic collection of hats,all more or less the same style with different feathers in the headband. And he loved wearing ties, all the colours of the rainbow.  He always called me a shorter version of my name, which sounded like ” Myrrh” I can’t remember him calling me by my full name, unlike my mum.

His cooking was distinctly different from mum’s and when he made soup, his dumplings were absolutely huge! I remember him coming home with bags of broken biscuits and fudge sweets,he always bought home something for us to have as treats. He loved cricket and would hog the television when test matches were being played and loved it when West Indies beat England. I remember one time when Mum was in Jamaica attending a funeral, that he made a mistake ( don’t ask me how) and bought a melon instead of pumpkin to make soup, his face was a picture and his language was far from sweet…

He was always at home after work, never went to the pub or bookies or dance but would insist on dragging us out most Sundays to visit relatives leaving close by. I think he was the only man I knew who didn’t drive and when I got my own car and used to cussing other drivers, he would sit in the front seat and hang on for dear life, but I couldn’t cuss with him there as he would be really shocked that I knew such words.  We would have long arguments that started out as gentle talks, getting louder and louder until mum told both of us to calm down. My parents were known throughout the area as when he Joined The Ancestors, mum said that she had been told at Lewisham Market that ‘ A tall man with a short wife had passed away’ There were so many family members in the same cemetery, that people said that they would all be having a party once us mourners had left. I miss our talks but I find that I am using some of his choice phrases when I see the price of food in supermarkets!

Although you may think I do not care

know that I care for you

Although you may think I do not love

know that I love you

I know that I have never sat

and reasoned long with you

please forgive me for my lack

of whatever feeling to you is due

I can only imagine what it was like

to come so far and leave

whatever happiness there was at home

that island in the Caribbean Sea

to seek new work, to find a future

as you and others had been told

to journey so great a distance

for this reality to come true to unfold

Waiting patiently and working so hard

feeling hatred from your fellow man

just because your skin was a different shade from them

Sticking it out, waiting in vain

As months drifted  into years

seeing your youth and your strength gradually disappear

being called an immigrant, an ethnic minority

coming from a land where you where in the majority

even though you were a law abiding citizen

of this so called humane society

I wish I could talk to you

tell you that I respect you

and that I am grateful for all that you have achieved

as I am proud to be continuing this line

of Jamaican Ancestry

I know that sometimes you did not approve

of the actions I have taken

but understand that at the time

I thought i could not be mistaken

and would have to pay in the future

for my youthful follies

This reasoning is for you

My Father

This love is from

A Thankful Daughter.

Thanks, Dad.

Imani c 2012